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Fires in Cargo Compartments

Kent Faith - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Test results have demonstrated that the lithium-ion cells in batteries are flammable and capable of self-ignition. Although not quite as explosive as a lithium-metal battery in thermal runway a lithium-ion battery that reaches thermal runway can still surpass temperatures of 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, exceeding the ignition temperature of most class A materials, including cardboard and paper, and very close to the melting temperature of aluminum. While tests using Halon to suppress fires show that it “usually” works on lithium battery fires in the cabin, it does not eliminate the risk of transporting these batteries.

*U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration. October 8, 2010. Safety Alert for Operators. Flight Standards Service, Washington DC